PESHAWAR: Patients at Pakistan Railway hospitals have to deal with an acute shortage of resources. They are complaining that they are not getting the same treatment as they were receiving five years ago, although there has been no decrease in the annual budget.
The 30-bed hospital, located near the Peshawar Railway Station, is meant to provide medical facilities for in-service and retired staff of Pakistan Railways. However, currently it only has a functioning outpatient department since no specialist doctors are available.
If any major emergencies occur, patients are referred to government hospitals, with the Pakistan Railways bearing their expenses. Currently, the hospital only has three senior medical officers, three medical officer s and two lady doctors.
“A few days ago, I came to have a blood test to check for Hepatitis C,” Raiz Ullah, a retired officer, said, “But when I came here I found that this facility was not even available.” Another visiting patient, Sultan Ahmad, said: “If patients were not treated in hospitals where their treatment was free, then what is the advantage of this hospital?”
A medical official told The Express Tribune that it would be hard for them to hire specialist doctors as it is very rare for them to deal with major medical emergencies. He added that the main problem of delayed reimbursements and clearances of medical bills was something that the Pakistan Railways Lahore office was responsible for.
“We treated 5,082 patients in July in our outpatient department but serious cases are always shifted to other hospitals,” the official said.
Public Relations Director Officer Zubair Shafi Ghori said that annual budget for the Railways hospital in Peshawar had been increased from Rs15 million in 2011-12 to Rs25 million for the 2012-13 fiscal year.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 13th, 2012.
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